When “Gary” came in for his session, you could “cut the feeling of despair around him with a knife,” it was so palpable. He had always struggled a bit with hopelessness, but this time, it was incredibly strong. The thought went through my head, “Don’t try to talk him out of it; pray him out of it.” So we immediately went into an intense exorcism session. At the end of it, the despair was gone and he was back to his self.
As a psychologist, I typically endeavor to have people get in touch with their feelings and “own” them. If they don’t, they are liable to stuff their emotions and then they come out “sideways,” in all sorts of dysfunctional ways such as alcohol abuse, drugs, sex, porn, nasty behavior and more. This is particularly true of what people call “negative” emotions such as anger, hurt, resentment, and darker emotions like despair. We humans need to learn to manage these more difficult emotions.
Now, I have to make an adjustment in my thinking. Most of the time, what I have said is true. But there are times when people’s emotions don’t come from their psyche, they actually come from the bowels of hell. Or more likely, the person may feel a little of these negative emotions, and then Satan exaggerates them into an overwhelming crisis.
This only makes sense. When demons are present, they infect you with their evil psyche. They are immersed in narcissism, fear, paranoia, anger and, yes, despair. It is for good reason that Dante’s Inferno has inscribed over the Gates of Hell, “Abandon all hope ye who enter here.” Having definitively rejected God, demons and the damned have forever rejected the true source of all hope.
There are many things that happen in the course of an exorcism and this transformation is one of them. I have often seen the light of God’s hope shine once again in the faces of the afflicted, who sometimes began in the mire of a demonic despair.
When grappling with dark feelings of despair, oftentimes, people need a psychologist. But there are times when only an exorcist will do.
Monsignor Rossetti’s book, Diary of an American Exorcist, can be purchased here.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.
This post was published originally on Catholicexorcism.org and is reprinted here with permission.